Thursday, May 19, 2011

The elephant in the middle of the room - Classroom Management!

Discussions of classroom management can be intense!  My professional development session on this topic with the Meynaa School English teachers was no exception.

It is amazing how quickly students learn what a teacher's hot buttons are! Students are experts at identifying hot buttons and pushing them! The trick for the teacher is to understand this principal, keep their cool, and never allow the students to get under their skin! 

Classroom rules and procedures were a big topic of conversation. 

I asked the teachers to think about what their expectations of their students were?  These expectatons were stated to me in general terms.  So I then asked the teachers if the students knew what their expectations of them were?  None of the teachers shook their head yes.... their expecations had not been verbalized to their students.

To ground my question about teacher expectations I used the example of bellwork. Bellwork or a spong activity at the beginning of class, was a new concept to these teachers.  So I explained to the teachers that my expectations of the students related to bellwork was very specific.

For example, my expectation of my students was that when they came into the classroom, they would sit down at their desk, get out their notebook and immediately begin working on the bellwork.

The key to good classroom management (for me) is a fast paced, student focused, and engaging lesson plan.  Students know what is expected of them, the teacher gives explicit instruction, questions are asked with "think" time given before the teacher randomly calls on a student to respond, the teachers allows for ample student processing time for new information with a partner, multiple learning stules are used, and the lesson ends with a quick assessment of the learning objective.

I was on a roll this whole sesson as we discussed classroom management with tips, stories and practical solutions.  The workshop became a blurrrrrrrrr of activities and action.... none of which I got on film..... because.... we were all so engaged.... just did not think about taking pictures!



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